An Autistic Man Posts Online for Work and Gets 7 Million Views!

Ryan Lowry’s heartfelt letter spreads hope and love.

Apr 7, 2021
An Autistic Man Posts Online for Work and Gets 7 Million Views! | Ryan Lowry’s heartfelt letter spreads hope and love.

A young autistic man recently posted a letter on LinkedIn asking for a job. This honest and personal letter sparked such compassion, it was viewed over 7 million times. He opened the hearts of all who read it and within four days, he landed a scholarship in his dream field.

The 20-year-old from Virginia had a vision. Ryan Lowry was looking for a job in IT or animation and wanted to get the word out, so with the help of his dad he opened a LinkedIn account, according to TODAY. He wrote a handwritten, personal, and deeply honest letter that stood out from the other posts.

In the letter, Lowry explained upfront that he has autism. He added that he is a quick learner, gifted at math, and has a great sense of humor. “I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me,” he wrote to a prospective employer. “I don’t learn like typical people. I would need a mentor to teach me, but I learn quickly, once you explain it, I get it.”

This letter spread across the LinkedIn community like fire, warming hearts along the way. It gained seven million shares and 180,000 likes. There was so much activity centered around this one letter, LinkedIn closed the account thinking it was suspicious, according to TODAY.

The account was soon reopened and a flourish of comments picked up again. Catherine Fisher from LinkedIn told TODAY, “Ryan is leading by example, he’s showcasing his unique skills, being authentic and asking his community for help. We can’t wait to see when he updates his profile with a new job.”

Many of the 6,000 plus comments he received were words of inspiration from people with autism and from those with autistic children. The consensus of these discussions was for employers and recruiters to change their approach to autism, saying that it is not a disability, rather a unique perspective. One parent of an autistic son told Lowry on LinkedIn, “Your autism is a super power. The way your mind works is not a handicap, it is an amazing strength.”

Many LinkedIn users could relate to Lowry’s situation regarding employment challenges, including those who were divorced, or who had various disabilities. They shared their hardships and successes with honesty. 

One woman wrote about this stream of posts, “This is too beautiful. We are spreading love via online, creating opportunities for people we never met and words of encouragement to impact each other, is just beyond Amazing.”

People opened up to Lowry, giving him advice, offering him coaching and mentoring, as well as job leads and contacts in his field. Just four days after the initial posting, Lowry received the surprise of his life via a zoom interview with Lester Holt on NBC News. Live on TV, he was offered a scholarship to a summer animation program at Exceptional Minds, a nonprofit that offers training to those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  

According to Exceptional Minds, 85 percent of people with autism are unemployed. The organization is committed to breaking this cycle by offering autistic people the skills they need to work in animation and digital arts as well as assist them in job placement.

Lowry’s mother, Tracy Lowry, lay in bed at night crying as she read the heartfelt responses to her son’s post. She told NBC News, “It’s beautiful, but if it can help people, it’s even bigger. And that’s what our intention is.” Ryan Lowry’s honest handwritten letter changed his life, and is opening the eyes of employers, enabling many talented people on the autistic spectrum to fulfil a dream.

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.